I had a couple of friends who contributed to my New Dawn Narrative by just sharing part of their story rather than answering questions. Both are teens whom I loved (and still do) and attended the same independent, fundamental Baptist church several years ago. I wanted to share these with you today. And please, if you comment, do so only in love.
For those who are on a spiritual journey but are not “following Christ” on that journey, can I encourage you to give Him a try. Maybe you have heard or have seen the wrong version of Christ through others, church, or religion. Please keep reading my blogs and be open to maybe seeing Christ for who He truly is.
For those who say “I am a follower of Christ,” after you read the answers from the New Dawn Questions and these two stories – ask yourself, “What is the best way for us to reach out to our friends and neighbors?’ or maybe “Where have we gone wrong in the past and how do we fix it?”
STORY 1: I would be happy to be a part of the discussion. On a personal note, please do not be disappointed in for leaving the church and the faith. Please understand that it was not to go live in a life of sin. Honestly, I decided that I did not agree with the way the Bible says I should live my life. Once I decided that I did not agree, how could I call myself a Christian? I refused to be a hypocrite.
The actual issue was dealing with my step mother and the idea that we should honor our mothers. Also, once I started studying human nature and the history of the church, it was hard to have faith in the church. I know that is not were any faith should be placed, but much church doctrine is based on what church leaders said and did as the church grew. I can see why certain things were necessary then, but they don’t make since for today.
Anyway, I don’t think it is right for a “Christian” to pick and chose what they are going to do and not because that is not how the religion was set up. So I chose not to be part of that religion or any other.
I got to that conclusion through rational thought. And that is what I value more than anything else now. It is my life’s goal and calling to teach others how to think so they can make rational decisions. All I want people to do is make informed decisions! Whether it is about religion, politics, finances, ect. I want people to believe in things for some reason that resonates with them, not because a pastor or parents or the media say something. I want people to know why they believe in something.
When I was a Christian, I read the Bible (unlike most Christians) to achieve this goal. And I came to the conclusion that the Bible does not allow for the freedom to decide what is right or wrong. For instance, I lived with my husband for four years before we married. And I am sure that that time has allowed me to make an informed decision about marriage. I know that I can live with his idiosyncrasies, and I can make good decisions with him. I know that our marriage will last and be a happy one. I don’t think that majority of people can be that confident. And I think that is why our divorce rate is so high. People used to forced to lived together (even if they did not make a good decision) due to public pressure. Now there is not as much so they feel free to jump in and out of marriage. This is just wrong! But the way to fix it is not to say just live with your bad decisions, it is help people make good decisions in the first place.
Do you see what I mean?
Anyway, this is the basic outline of what happened with me. I would be happy to talk with you more about it. But please see this was not a whimsical decision. I fought with it, and I think I made the right choice. I honestly think I am a better and happier person, because I know what I believe and why. Also I change my opinions when as a better argument comes to my attention.
I really have a great fondness for you and the other leaders of the old ________ because I think y’all tried to be the best Christians you could be.
STORY 2: I’ve taken a bit of an all-inclusive approach to spirituality. I got tired of dogmas and decided just to love everything and everyone. Seems to work out pretty well for me. Mainstream Christianity has taken a rather sad turn in the past years.
When I left the church, I started asking those big questions and found my way into a lot of fringe areas of thought and philosophy. Definitely not the most popular route, I started studying indigenous cultures and their understanding of spirit. I wanted to get back to the core of my relationship with spirit and doctrine and just wasn’t doing it.
I’ve taken some strange roads. I’ve been to Central America and have participated in shamanistic rites involving ayahuasca, a powerful hallucinogen that has a very common affect on most people that is both healing and profound. There is a reason these plants and others like it grow on earth. They are tools for communion with nature and have been used thusly for thousands of years.
I lived in Costa Rica for three months a few years back, and in my times there I started really paying attention to the ways that I thought about everything and how it affected my daily life. Thoughts truly do become things, which is why many people just seem to manifest their fears most readily. Many people waste their thoughts worrying and all it does is create more of the situations/things they’re afraid of.
I live in the mystery of the moment these days. I don’t do plans, I don’t do itineraries. Going with the flow has become more than a mantra. I still have a bad habit of taking the weight of the world unto my shoulders, my mom says I’ve done this my whole life… I’ve just had to learn to trust in spirit to sort it out. I change the world now by changing myself. I’ve come to understand that the current state of the external world is the result of our internal struggle as a species and as we move closer to truly loving ourselves and each other.
This is exactly the kind of dialogue that needs to happen to open people up to the idea that the universe can be so much bigger than we allow ourselves to see it. This is a topic I can go into great depth over.